Nigeria – Okpa

By Verdzekov Bernard


Rare cuisines prepared mostly in Africa. Okpa is rare dish. You will mostly see this dish in Nigeria or if prepare elsewhere, you may find out and see the chef or person that prepared the dish is from Nigeria. This doesn’t mean that you can’t prepare the dish. That is why am writing about it. So that, you who can’t prepare the dish, may go right ahead after reading this guide to prepare Okpa. Unlike Koki, Cameroon local cuisine, we have okpa of Nigeria. But this dish is so similar and may even confuse. But is simple, the okpa seeds and grind, while that of koki is not. This dish is so common in the eastern side of Nigeria.

Ingredients

  • Banana leaves 
  • Maggi 
  • Pepper 
  • Palm oil 
  • 5 bowls of okpa flour
  • Cocoa leaves.

Process 

  • You need enough palm oil to really make the okpa yellow. The ingredients above are small. Yes. But okpa naturally doesn’t need so much ingredients. When I talk of so much ingredients I mean, crayfish or onions. You may ask why. And the answer is, it will ruin the natural flavor and taste of the okpa.
  • The amount of water you use in the preparation of okpa matters. This is because, if less water is used, your okpa will be hard. But if you use more but moderate, you will have a good texture of the end products.
  • Okpa is a beans seed which is commonly known as Bambara groundnut. This nut is usually very hard in nature and needs very strong grinders to be able to grind this seed. After it has been grinde, it could be used for the preparation of okpa. This is a very rare seed. If you can’t get this seed from Nigeria, you can buy online on Amazon. But be ready to pay the bills.
  • In a traditional way, normally banana/plantain leaves are used for the preparation of okpa. And before preparing your okpa, prepare your banana leaves.
  • After grinding the seeds, sift the okpa flour into a bowl.
  • Add your Maggi and salt to taste. Mix well. 
  • Add your palm oil and mix well until the incorporation between the flour and oil is visible.
  • Stand some water on the fire. When it is warm, remove some and pour in the flour. Pour and mix well and make sure the are no lumps. 
  • To make things easy on use a blender so that it mixes well eliminating al lumps. Thou it is going take time doing all that, it for your good. Using the local style, you will use a sieve to pour the mixture through the sieve. And your well chopped cocoa leaves and mix well.
  • Warm plantain leaves in direct fire until they are semi dark and green in color, then you cut into desired sizes.
  • After cutting, spread the leaf on a plate or tray. Use a spoon to dish the okpa paste from the mortar into the spread leaf/leaves. Use plantains or a tiny rope to tie the leaves with the okpa paste. 
  • Put boiling water into the pot and put the okpa on it and close pot living the pot to cook for about 1hr. Make sure you check pot to make sure the water doesn’t dry. Add if necessary. After 1hr check the okpa by removing one from the pot of many, open from the tied head, and check. If not ready close and put back into the pot living it for the desired time suspected it will get ready by then. This could be 15min, 35 or even 45min.
  • When it is ready, allow it get cold for some time before you serve.

Enjoy…

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